1st Edition

Land Tenure Reform in Sub-Saharan Africa Interventions in Benin, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe

    126 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the impacts of land tenure reform interventions implemented in Benin, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.

    Since 2000, many African countries have introduced programs aimed at providing smallholder farmers with low-cost certificates for land held under customary tenure. Yet there are many contending views and debates on the impact of these land policies and this book reveals how tenure security, agricultural productivity, and social inclusion were affected by the interventions. It analyses the results of carefully selected, authoritative studies on interventions in Benin, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe and applies a realist synthesis methodology to explore the socio-political and economic contexts. Drawing on these results, the book argues that inadequate attention paid to the core characteristics of rural social systems obscures the benefits of customary tenure while overlooking the scope for reforms to reduce the gaps in social status among members of customary communities.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of land management and use, land and property law, tenure security, agrarian studies, political economy, and sustainable development. It will also appeal to development professionals and policymakers involved in land governance and land policy in Africa.


    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

    Chapter 1. Contemporary interventions to reform African customary tenure  Chapter 2. Characteristics of African customary tenure and program theories underlying tenure reforms in Benin, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe  Chapter 3. Realist synthesis methodology: Understanding intervention outcomes in complex contexts  Chapter 4. Benin’s Plan Foncier Rural Program (Rural Land Plan Program)  Chapter 5. Ethiopia’s Land Certification Programs Chapter 6. Rwanda’s Land Tenure Regularization Program  Chapter 7. Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Program  Chapter 8. Synthesis of findings  Chapter 9. Conclusions


    Steven Lawry is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), where he formerly served as Principal Scientist and led the Research Program on Equity, Gender and Tenure.

    Rebecca McLain is a Research Program Director at Portland State University, USA, and a Senior Research Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

    Margaret Rugadya is the Africa Region Coordinator and Senior Program Officer at the Land and Forest Tenure Facility Fund in Stockholm, Sweden.

    Gina Alvarado is a Senior Research and Evaluation Advisor at Landesa in the USA.

    Tasha Heidenrich is an independent research and evaluation specialist.

    "Of great value to analysis of land tenure policy in Africa is the book’s serious engagement with the contemporary working of African customary tenure, and its pinpointing the social, political and economic conditions in the four country cases where land reform interventions help and where they hinder tenure security for the majority."

    Pauline E. Peters, Harvard University

    "Four rigorous case studies of land tenure reform interventions demonstrate how policy makers often fail to account for the context and complexity of socially inclusive African customary tenure systems. The authors have written a book that should stimulate a reconsideration of land rights policy."

    John W. Bruce, former Director of the Land Tenure Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison